We have all seen them. The notices on the news, alerting the community to a wondering Alzheimer’s or dementia patient. It makes my heart break when I hear about these incidents.
Imagine going outside for a walk and eventually your surroundings do not even look vaguely familiar. You keep walking, trying to find some place that you recognize, but it never arrives. Unfortunately this is just one of the instances of wandering. Some happen while in a car, some are out shopping at a mall or supermarket, others can happen right in your own home while looking for the bathroom or bedroom.
The Alzheimer’s Association has produced a helpful guide to prevent wandering. We have included a few of their tips below.
Tips to prevent wandering
- Having a routine can provide structure.
- Identify the most likely times of day that wandering may occur.
Plan activities at that time. Activities and exercise can reduce anxiety, agitation and restlessness.
- Ensure all basic needs are met.
Has the person gone to the bathroom? Is he or she thirsty or hungry?
- Avoid busy places that are confusing and can cause disorientation.
This could be a shopping malls, grocery stores or other busy venues.
- Place locks out of the line of sight.
- Camouflage doors and door knobs.
- Camouflage doors by painting them the same color as the walls, or cover them with removable curtains or screens. Cover knobs with cloth the same color as the door or use childproof knobs.
- Use devices that signal when a door or window is opened.
- This can be as simple as a bell placed above a door or as sophisticated as an electronic home alarm.
- Keep car keys out of sight.
For more helpful information about Wandering Prevention, follow the link below.